[Via Satellite 03-27-2015] The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is supplying emergency satellite communications equipment to the archipelago of Vanuatu, which on March 13 endured a category 5 tropical storm known as Cyclone Pam. The storm caused winds estimated at 250 Km/h, along with peak gusts of roughly 320 Km/h, which severely damaged infrastructure across the country, including the capital city of Port Vila on the island of Efate.
ITU issued 40 satellite phones and 10 Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminals, along with 35 solar panels to support relief coordination efforts. There are currently more than 2,000 people taking refuge in more than 25 evacuation centers on the islands of Efate, Torba and Penama.
“The frequency and intensity of disasters is increasing worldwide with a disproportionate impact on developing countries,” said ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao. “We are working with our partners to increase the capacity of member states to integrate [Information and Communication Technologies] ICTs in their disaster risk-reduction policies. ITU is also encouraging governments, especially those in developing countries, to invest in telecommunication infrastructure that is resilient to disasters.”